Man ‘snapped’ after Aoife Phelan ‘pushy’ about relationship

‘The only thing going through my head was: ‘I need to get rid of her’,’ accused said

A Laois man charged with murdering 30-year-old nanny Aoife Phelan.

A Laois man charged with murdering 30-year-old nanny Aoife Phelan.

Thu, May 15, 2014, 18:44

A Laois man charged with murdering a 30-year-old nanny told gardaí that he snapped and punched her shortly after she threatened to ruin him if he walked away from her and her pregnancy.

The Central Criminal Court was hearing details of Garda interviews carried out with Robert Corbet during the investigation into the 2012 murder of Aoife Phelan.

The 25-year-old from Sheffield Cross, Laois has pleaded not guilty to her murder. However he has admitted her manslaughter between October 25th and November 7th, when her body was found in a barrel, buried in Capoley, near Portlaoise.

Mr Corbet denied involvement in her killing during his first interviews that November. He also denied recent phone contact with her about a pregnancy.

However, Detective Sergeant Brian Hanley testified today that, after phone records were put to him, he made admissions.

The accused said that Ms Phelan had told him that she was pregnant with his baby and had been onto him for weeks about meeting. He said he collected her in his jeep on the night of October 25th.

“She started to get pushy about not being in a relationship. I just snapped,” he said. “When I came round, she was unconscious.”

He said that she had been giving him grief from the minute she got into his jeep.“She was full-on in my ear about not wanting to meet up and not wanting a relationship,” he said. He said he pulled in at a roundabout.

“She was just roaring at me, that we were never meeting up. I told her we weren’t in a relationship,” he said. “I hit her and hit her.”

He said he hit her with his fist on the side of her head four or five times. “I completely lost it,” he said. “Then I stopped and stared at the windscreen and just closed my eyes.”

He said that when he opened his eyes, Ms Phelan was motionless and slumped. “I can pack a punch when I’m angry,” he said. “She knew exactly what to say to get me going,” he added.

He said he didn’t think she said anything after he hit her the first time. “Afterwards, it was so surreal,” he continued. “A million things were going through my head.”

“I drove up and down the road and then went home,” he said. “I went into the house and got two black sacks.” He said his mother was there and that he nearly broke down in tears but held it together.